The book is a highly original and personal response to the diary of an RAMC soldier recording his experiences at the Somme and Arras. Written by his granddaughter, who never knew him, she has followed in his footsteps during the engagements of 1916 and 1917, from the front lines to rest places and transit camps. She draws on her encounters with local people, whose memories are still alive, to write a compelling narrative which combines history and poetry to convey ‘the truth about war’. Not the least surprising element in the narrative is the link she draws between her own literary vocation and the first stirrings of poetry, a hundred years ago, in a working-class soldier whose experiences, through a new cultural awakening, transcended the horrors of war.
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